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# 120Hz HDTVs: The Secret to Making Movies Look as Smooth as Butter

Click to viewWhile the rest of the world is gawking at 108-inch LCDs and quad-resolution pixel counts, I'll let you in on a little secret: 120Hz HDTVs are going to help movies look better than ever on the little screen in your living room.

Here's how.

Film is 24 frames per second. That standard was the approximation of what was defined in the early 20th century by hand crank cameras. And just about every movie disc you can buy is encoded in this format. We're not just talking DVD. We're talking about HD DVD and Blu-ray, too.

The problem is, most TVs run at 30 frames per second. Fitting that 24-frame content onto a 30-frame screen isn't that easy; the math just doesn't compute cleanly. You can't divide 24 by 30 without filling in the gaps with some junk. That junk causes stuttering in the video. This is a jerky-looking phenomenon that's particularly noticeable when the camera pans across a scene. The conversion is better known by film and TV wonks as 2:3 pulldown. It spreads out 24 frames into 30 by placing one frame on the screen three times and the next one after that two times, and repeating this pattern ad infinitum.

How does this relate to an 120Hz HDTV showing frames at 120 frames per second? A bit of simple math tells you that 120 is a multiple of 24, because 24 x 5 = 120. So one of the claims of the purveyors of these sped-up monitors is that they can natively reproduce 24p programming, namely, just about every film has ever been shot.